Monthly Archives: January 2013

Let’s go North America!

“[People claim] that rich countries are better environmental stewards than poor countries. The widely cited Environmental Performance Index published annually by Yale and Columbia universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum show this claim to be false. … Ecuador sits in 31st place, ahead of Canada (37th) and the United States (49th). Four other relatively poor Latin American nations outperform Canada, including Costa Rica, Brazil and Colombia. Indeed most of the nations ranked ahead of Canada are less wealthy in economic terms.”

Well, it’s great that some Ecuador, Costa Rica, Brazil and Colombia do well vs Canada, but I think the way I would frame this is very different. If you are a rich country, you can easily do a good job (like most of Western Europe), but some countries are lame and choose to not. (US, Canada).

What else is new.


The EPI Rankings

(Song: North American Scum Lyrics By LCD Soundsystem)

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Filed under erik-green, green

When it’s 8F

It’s been cold for a change. Getting down to single digits (6F, 8F) at night.

1) When it’s 8F, that’s 33% colder than a more typical 23F.

(If you assume a 68F temp in the house. Outside temps of 23F is a differential of 45F. When it’s 8F, that’s 60F difference. And 60F is 33% more than a 45F diff.)

2) When it’s 8F, that’s similar to it being 138F.

(In both cases it’s a 60F difference vs my desired inside temp. Summer=78F, Winter=68F. Well, not exactly, since in the winter-time the electric appliances, sun and people and pets in the house are helping keep the house comfortable, and in the summer they are making things more difficult (when the house is closed up because it is very hot and humid outside. Plus our heat pump is a lot more efficient at cooling than they are at heating. I know they (even the fancy h2i hyperheat heat pumps) get down to like 2x COP/efficiency when it is cold. But when they are cooling, I believe mini-split air-source heat pumps often have SEER ratings of over 20. And SEER (EER) = COP * 3.412. So COP=6. So from the heat pump’s perspective, it’s different.)

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Filed under erik-green, green

How to Run a Good School

How to Run a Good School? Well I think it’s suprisingly similar to How To Run a Good Conference**.

While Khan Academy talks about “flipping the classroom” (watch lectures at home, do homework in school… or collaborate on projects?), it’s still mostly going to be on topics that someone else picks. That’s interesting, but it’s still the curriculum model.

So that’s why the conference analogy is more compelling. There we have willing participants, choosing the topics THEY are interested in. What’s on the menu?

At some point someone other than advocates of Sudbury Schools might notice. I’m exaggerating, but perhaps not much!

(**from a 16-year-old Aaron Swartz in 2002)

Dave Winer, on rebooting conferences/bloggercon/unconferences (there are several other posts by him on the topic both newer and older)
– Flipping the classroom

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Filed under alternative education, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Tablets vs netbooks vs ultrabooks

I don’t know what they heck this person is talking about in the article below. Our 10″ Dell netbook has been GREAT as a web/netflix/flash games computer. Keyboard is great for typing… nearly 100%, Windows 7, etc. If it had a higher res screen (1366×768 instead of 1024×600) it would be perfect. Like hmmm…. a 11″ Macbook Air! I call that a netbook too. Except 3x the price. (~$1000 vs ~$333) As he wrote, the manufacturers weren’t making much on netbooks. Which to me says they were a good deal!

Just trying to get eyeballs on the website I guess is the reason for the article. Not based in reality. Mine at least!

Apple Killed the Netbook (And we’re all better off for the demise of the $400 future of computing.)

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Spongebob Squarepants vs Caillou 2011

Lillard, A. S., & Peterson, J. (2011). The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children’s Executive Function. Pediatrics, 128(4), 644-649. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-1919
PDF from here

My quick thoughts:

– Spongebob and Phineas and Ferb and such TV cartoon shows are fast with lots of clever language and references, etc. It is probably hard for little kids to follow it all. Even for me! Maybe it would be different (even for me!) if I had a pause between scenes. Isn’t the study just showing that their brains are tired after 9 minutes? There isn’t time to even pause and explain things. You could if you were watching it on streamed/DVD/DVR vs “live” TV but I don’t think anyone actually wants that. I imagine pauses would be needed for ANYONE to get info from short-term into working memory.

– I like Caillou, Kipper, Curious George, etc. Kipper especially is so nice and relaxed!

– As I was reading ONE FISH TWO FISH RED FISH BLUE FISH by Dr Suess at tonight bedtime, it struck me that if I read that book very fast, it might very well be no different to a 4 or 5 year old than watching a fast paced cartoon. You want fast and fantastical? Oh yes! In book format! Someone study that! I can easily read that book 4-5 times faster (yet still intelligibly) if I wanted to vs a reasonable pace.

– “EF was assessed here by using 4 well-known tasks: Tower of Hanoi, backward digit span, delay of gratification, and head toes knees shoulders(HTKS).” Isn’t that *boring* compared to the show they were just watching?

– I don’t see any followup studies/papers on the publications page, which is a shame because I am sure there is plenty of unexplored ground here. The problem being able to show long-term effects.

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